Tools of the trade

These are tools that help take the STRESS out of quilting.  You just have to learn that you need them.

I have sewn things for years.  Mostly garments, tailoring, bridal, draparies, totes and anything with a pattern associated to it.  I have sewn a quilt or two before but they were pretend quilts.  About 18 months ago I started really taking quilting seriously.  Last year I was the lucky recipient of a small cutting board by a secret sister in my quilt guild [Algonquin Quilt Guild].   I could not imagine what I would ever use a small mat for when sewing blocks together.  I then received a small ruler for something and thought that it would certainly come in handy.

Sometimes I am a little slow as it did not dawn on me that when you create quilt blocks they need to be precise.  This handy little cutting board provides that needed tool for me right after I sew pieces together.  It’s a quick check to see if the seams are being sewn correctly.   This little mat is only 7 inches.  Since I’m making 6 inch blocks, it’s perfect for what I need today.  I can’t work without them.  My blocks would never come out correctly.

The little scissors (a holiday grab bag gift from the quilt guild) and seam ripper are two essentials at the sewing station.  I realized when working on the Famer’s Wife blocks that I have to be very precise or else the block will not be the correct size.  The scissors are only used to clip my threads.  I have cutting shears for fabric.  (Reminds me, they need to get sharpened.)  The rotary cutter is used to square up all those things that need to be squared.  (Need a new blade on that too.)

The best part of my sewing center is my little Queen Janome.  We picked it up at Sewing Concepts in Carpentersville – wonderful people in there.  It is an AMAZING dream machine.   I chose to not get a high-end do-everything quilting machine because as hobbies go, you may change your mind on what you like to do in your spare time. 

The little red thing there, that’s my mother’s tomato pin cushion.  Yep, that baby is really old.  You can also see that the ironing board is almost sitting on top of the sewing table.  Each seam is ironed before you progress to your next piece.  In a log cabin block there are 12 seams that have to be ironed.  That’s a lot of up and down.  Minimize that by keeping your ironing board close.

I’ve included one of the projects I’ve been working on, a log cabin quilt, where I use all these tools as I quilt each block.  I have 12 more blocks to finish, maybe redo the middle – big maybe, then the sashing, pinning, quilting, and binding.   And I thought I was getting close to done.


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